You're not a sketcher? You don't draw? Get back here! This book is still for you. Maybe you'll even want to try out some of the drawing exercises. Even if you don't, give this book a read.
The parts about developing a habit and breaking the rules apply to every creative as does the section on fitting in your creative practice. The encouraging talk about trying new things and dodging perfectionism will speak to pretty much all of us, too, I think. And I completely love "The Week of Living Artfully." We can do this with any kind of work we do!
That's the magic of this book. It's about drawing, but you can easily see how you could adapt this to whatever art form you are working with. It really is about finding a zillion ways to be creative.
Ways to use this book if you don't draw:
Change each exercise to fit your chosen art form
Write about how the exercises make you feel about your own art (or in general)
Take photos representing each exercise
Try the drawing stuff anyhow
Finally, my favorite takeaway: "Every time you find a reason not to create, the art you mihgt have made doesn't exist."
I think we all end up returning to something in our lives--a city, a person, a project, a career. Sometimes we find ourselves returning to something we didn’t even know we missed. That’s how I’m feeling about my MuseCraft™ work. I was so busy, I thought I didn’t miss it, but when things calmed down I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
But how do you return from a hiatus that you thought would be a few months but turned into more than a year? (Closer to two, I think, because my brief foray back into the blog last year was pretty short lived and unfocused.) How do you return to something you thought you were finished with? How do you return to something you love when you’re a different person than you were when you left?
I think you return--to anything, after any time--by not trying to catch up. By just saying, “Hello, I’m here.” And then moving forward from there. Start where you are now, and take the next small step. Let what you learned last time inform your choices, but don’t try to recreate how things were before. You know the old saying--you can’t step in the same river twice. It’s best to not try.
Here are a few ideas for returning to something you’ve been away from for a while.
Step 1: Revisit what you’ve already done. Don’t make changes or edits. Revisit it as if you’re viewing someone else’s work as much as you can. Don’t write anything down. Don’t look for changes. Look at it with curiosity and appreciation.
Step 2: Make a list of what you want the project to be when it’s finished. How do you want to feel about it? How do you want your audience to feel about it?
Step 3: Make a list of steps you need to take to get it done. Make them small. Smaller than you think you should. So small they seem silly. Make them smaller than that. Small is good! (So is silly.)
Step 4: Pick a target date or create a timeline for doing the work.
Step 5: Find some support. An accountability buddy or group. A hashtag to use to share your progress with others doing similar work. Something to give you a place to check in and talk about how things are going.
Now get started. Pick that first, small step to take. Tell someone about it. Do it. Don’t look ahead to what’s next. Just do the step in front of you. After that you can pick the next one and do it. The others will still be there when you get to them, so don’t worry about them right now. Just focus on the step in front of you and start heading toward your goal.
My favorite time in my writing life was in the mid-90s when I was part of a fantastic writing group that met twice a month. It was a first words group, so most of the time everyone was bringing new words, first draft stuff, sometimes for ongoing stories and sometimes brand new work. And we all read out loud to each other. The feedback was mostly pointing out what we liked, although sometimes if something really wasn't working for us we'd mention that.
I get a little bit of this kind of community from PDX Writers (which now also only meets twice a month), but in that group we write from prompts while we are all together and then read to each other. And I love PDX Writers a lot! But I really do miss my old group. I wonder if there's any way of recapturing some of the best parts of what we had? I'm going to have to think on that a bit.
After over a year of being away from blogging, I've been toying with ideas of what to write about for over a week now. I had it in my head that I needed to write something momentous and deep. Instead, I'm just going to talk about what I've been up to lately.
In 2016, my whole year was about taking classes and workshops to renew my teaching license. I stepped away from coaching and didn't do much writing or much of anything creative. This year, I've started substitute teaching, and I'm making time for my creative play because I really missed it, and I get cranky when I'm not making things.
To start off 2017 and shake off the crankies, I got involved in the 1 Year of Stitches project (#1yearofstitches), and I'm really loving it! I had been away from embroidery for a long while for various reasons, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again. There will probably be lots of embroidery posts and pics around here (the picture at the top of this post is from one of my side projects I did in February because once I started stitching again, a few stitches a day wasn't enough).
My fun with embroidery and Instagram got me thinking that I want to get back into doing some photography. I take pictures, but not the details of life and fun pictures that I used to take. I started poking around for a good way to get back in the habit, and I came across The 100 Day Project. It's not specifically for photography; it's for anything you want to do for 100 days and share on Instagram (#the100dayproject). But it seemed perfect for my photography needs right now, so I'm in. It's starting up next week, so there's plenty of time to join in.
I'm also in the process of finally unpacking all the boxes in my studio after living here for 15 months. Right after we moved in, I found out that my old office was going to be closing, and I jumped into renewing my license and getting back to teaching. My poor studio suffered and has been mostly a storage area this whole time. But now I'm finally changing that, sorting through things, trying to figure out how to organize it all. So you might see some posts about that.
I don't have any writing projects going, although I'm reading some craft books and feeling some stories stirring. One of these days, you might hear about that, too. For now, it's mostly going to be embroidery and photography, because that's what's holding my creative attention. So what about you? What's holding your creative interest right now? Let me know--maybe there's a new project I need to try.